Steven Goldman, BP's editorial chieftain, discusses all things baseball and some things not.
Steven Goldman: It's been awhile since my last chat, as I was laid up with a bad back for awhile and just couldn't sit around enough to talk with my internet pals 'n' gals. Still a bit banged up, but I'm whole enough to give it the ol' college try. I've loaded about 500 songs from the 1960s into the mixer (Thunderclap Newman and "Something in the Air" spinning now, I have my ubiquitous cup o' Earl Grey, and ready to talk some baseball and what-have-you. Let's go, seekers of wisdom and truth!
Tbirds (Seattle): Should Don Mattingly be fired? I say yes.
Steven Goldman: Donnie Baseball's team has had a rough year, but I don't think you can heap all of that on him. Yes, he might just have both the MVP and Cy Young award winner in his midst, but the rest of the cast for a pennant run just wasn't there and wasn't coming what with all the bankruptcy stuff going on. I quibble with this batting orders sometimes, but you know that's small beer. Also small bear.
dianagramr (NYC): Good afternoon Steven .... happy after Labor Day lack of division races baseball to you.
Given the length of the regular season, and baseball's attempts to keep the playoffs from running into November, do you see ANY chance that MLB would actually move BACK to a 154-game regular season at some point? (I know ... what about the 8 games of lost revenue ...)
Steven Goldman: Yo-ho, D. I hope not. I like the 162-game schedule. Actually, I envy the old 200something-game schedules the PCL used to maintain, you know, the one where Tony Lazzeri hit 60 home runs just 'cause the season went on forever. I agree the season shouldn't be played in the winter, which is why I fantasize about a return to scheduled doubleheaders, even split-admission DHs. And yeah, not much going on in the races. I guess Angels-Rangers counts, but I have a hard time believing.
SaberTJ (Cleveland, OH): Will the Yankees seriously consider giving Montero at bats in the post season?
Steven Goldman: If he keeps hitting like he did yesterday, I think so. You know, as much as Jorge Posada has looked dead this year, he's hitting .271/.347/.463 against right-handers. Big home-park bias there (.290/.360/.491). He's been useless against lefties/on the road, but there IS some life there. Oddly enough, he had been a better hitter from the right side from throughout his career.
dianagramr (NYC): Speaking of the Dodgers ... when is the LAST time a last place team had both the CY and MVP on their team in the same year? I'd say never.
Steven Goldman: I don't know off the top o' me head. The Cubs didn't have a Cy when Ernie Banks and Andre Dawson were picking up their hardware...
lionstar1964 (Philly burbs): Any thoughts on the decision in Saturday's Phillies Braves game to use video to review fan interference on a double? I don't disagree that there was fan interference, but what is the difference between this and a ball where a fan reaches over from the stands into foul territory preventing the player from catching the ball?
Steven Goldman: As I understand it, the rule as written says that it is permissible to use replay to determine fan interference on a HR, so the ump got it right. No, there is no practical difference, they just haven't expended replay to that point... YET.
Paul (DC): At age 32, Adrian Beltre just got his 2000th hit. What's his career path forward going to look like?
Steven Goldman: He's going to be a really interesting HOF case someday provided he doesn't fall of a cliff. The real trick is going to be maintaining his batting average as he ages, because he doesn't walk a whole lot. As long as teams believe in his defense, he's going to keep playing... Kind of like Aurelio Rodriguez. He's signed forever, of course, but I'd be a little concerned about health given injuries in two of three seasons.
Mark68 (PDX): Given the Angels' potentially crowded OF/1B/DH situation next year, how do you see Bourjos, Trumbo, and Trout slotting in?
Steven Goldman: As long as Trumbo is going to struggle to post a .300 OBP, I'm not sure getting him playing time should be a priority. I'm very curious as to how Kendry Morales will play after 1.67 years off--he's still under 30, but remember we've had just one big year from him. Man, do the Angels miss him. They need a left-handed power-hitter more than any team in North America. I'm still stunned that they stood pat at the deadline.
Jumpf (Brooklyn): Who would you like the Yankees to pick up in the 2013 FA class? Kemp and Hamels?
Steven Goldman: It's early to say, though those are obviously great players who could help any team and won't be so old that a five-year deal would be too risky. I just don't know what the team's needs will be at that point, especially what they're going to do with young pitchers like Betances and Banuelos.
Mike Scioscia (Los Angeles of Anaheim, CA): Trumbo, Bourjos and Mathis are *my guys*, and will be given playing time. How dare you say otherwise? /Scioscia Scowl
Steven Goldman: You used to be such a reasonable guy, Mike... Bourjos has earned it, anyway. He covers more than the whole staff of the New York Times, and has hit surprisingly well. Did ANYONE thing that Bourjos would slug .450? I didn't. When you have that kind of pop with that level of defense, wow, is that valuable. Scioscia's embrace of Mathis is perverse, by which I mean he's doing something self-defeating for the sake of doing it. You know better, he knows better, but he can't help himself. It's very, very strange.
Jon E (Middle): Fister, Betemit, Young, Pauley.....no big names...but Dombrowski changed the dynamic in Detroit with the deadline additions. Does Verlander, Scherzer, Fister, Porcello get past NYY, TEX, or BOS in a post-season series?
Steven Goldman: We've had an ongoing debate at the BP SiriusXM show about Fister (have you been listening?). Fister hasn't been a great pitcher, but he's pitching like one right now, and if the Tigers can bottle that, along with Verlander and the benign version of Scherzer, you can't dismiss them as being patsies for any playoff opponent. The real question for me right now isn't Detroit, but what shape Boston's rotation will be come October.
thresh50 (boston): How far away from sticking in the majors are Travis d'Arnaud and Anthony Gose? And how do you see them performing?
Steven Goldman: I'm not Kevin Goldstein, damn it. I'm current events and history, not prospects. I do Goose, not Gose (Goslin or Gossage). But if you're asking me, I'd still like to see Goser the Gosarian get a better handle on the ol' making contact thing. At 20, no reason he has to do that tomorrow, but when you start carving points off of a .250 average upon promotion, you don't end up with a whole lot left for the majors. Again, he's precocious, so it might not be terminal... Bobby Fuller, "I Fought the Law" on now. There's probably a movie in the strange death of Bobby Fuller...
workermonkey (ct): if i told you Eric Chavez, Andrew Jones, and Nick Swisher were batting 5,6,7 for the yanks, what year would you think it was?
Steven Goldman: This year, and it's not a bad thing. Brian Cashman has sometimes not paid much attention to his bench, but this year the Yankees have some depth. Wish Chavez still has power, but going back to 2008 he now has four HR in 346 ABs. I don't see why he should get ANY DH at-bats at this stage. Jones, though, has been GREAT after a slow start.
Arby's (Good mood food): What's your take on year 2 of the Jed Hoyer era in San Diego?
Steven Goldman: Why wasn't Heath Bell traded? ...I have to admit I haven't seen too many Friars games this year, being generally more focused on the AL East, but it's really hard for me to come to a judgment in that other than Chase Headley, Cameron Maybin, Kyle Blanks, Corey Luebke, and Mat Latos, and (likely) Anthony Rizzo, I see a lot of guys who are basically just interim types. I wish they had gotten more playing time for James Darnell.
Hey hey we're the Monkees (People say we monkey around): Putting aside the Madoff crap, what's the first steps Sandy Alderson should make in the offseason?
Steven Goldman: Haven't gotten to any Monkees yet. I never mind some "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You," one of two great songs Neil Diamond wrote for them... And the answer is, "Sign Reyes."
ttt (Manhattan): If the Yankees had given all of Posada's at bats to Montero this year, they would have __________ more wins. I guess 3.
Steven Goldman: That seems like a lot, believe it or not. It posits that Montero would have been an impact player right from the start. And maybe he would have given what he did in Triple-A last year, but there were other priorities to be served, namely a last-ditch attempt to make a position player of the dude.
SaberTJ (Cleveland, OH): If Indians are able to sustain a much closer to a healthy roster next year are they another low-key contender in the Central?
Do they need to sign a RH OF/1b?
Steven Goldman: Ah, "The Weight." Heaven. Bliss... I think it's time to get off the Matt LaPorta bandwagon, don't you? Nearly 1000 PA later, we have .234/.300/.394. He's a career .211/.303/.326 against lefties, which is just wow. I still like Brantley a lot, but his inconsistency is a problem if he's going to be playing a corner.
Steve R (Waterloo, ON):
Can the Jays get up there with the Yankees/Sox/Rays? Lawrie looks great, but they're still short pitching, would Darvish get them there?
Steven Goldman: It depends if you believe that Darvish is a #1, or that they'll be up for spending Darvish money. I have doubts about both. Either way, he's not enough. They still need additional help for the rotation, the bullpen, and the lineup. You would, in particular, like them to figure out whether Adam Lind and Travis Snider are ever going to join the first ranks of offensive players.
Cult of Basebaal (Los Angeles Anaheim of Pasadena): What in the world is EDSP doing on the Yankees roster at this point in the season. Is this some act of contrition from Brian Cashman for delivery Proctor into Joe Torre's nefarious clutches out in Los Angeles?
Steven Goldman: Just eating a few innings for the bullpen as the Yankees go into their victory lap. It was nice to see him back, but no, he shouldn't be there in any capacity but trash-time relief work.
Bob (Seattle): 3B fWAR/GP
A. Beltre - 0.0280
Ken Boyer - 0.0311
Brooks Robinson - 0.0327
Ron Santo - 0.0354
There are some bad 3B in the HOF, Beltre needs to step up his offense if he wants to be voted in.
Steven Goldman: The Seattle ballpark and his own lack of consistency really hurt him there.
Frank (Chicago): I think Troy Tulowitzki is easily the most underrated elite player in MLB today. Agree or disagree?
Steven Goldman: He's a monster bat who happens to be the best defensive SS in baseball. If you're talking to people who discount Tulo as one of the top five players in baseball, tell 'em from me that they're not paying attention.
Chris (Windy City): Last night on MLB Roundtrip, there was a discussion about Mike Trout. I believe it was Kevin who said "the smart teams are the ones that have no timetable," for calling up their prospects. Yet he wrote an article on this very website calling the Royals to task for bringing up Eric Hosmer in May when he was clearly ready. Now, I know that was Kevin, but your thoughts? Should Kevin actually have said "the smart teams are the ones with no timetable, as long as they have the money to ignore service time implications"?
Steven Goldman: I can't claim to read Kevin's mind (and good that I can't--I hear it's scary in there!) but he did say both. I think you can reconcile those statements, but not quite the way you did. I think the general rule he posited is the correct one, but the Royals are a special situation, a team that needs to pull together all strands of its grand plan at once for it to work, because Hosmer isn't going to change anything for them by himself, but the whole class just might. What's more, because they're the Royals, we don't know how long they will be willing/able to keep the group together. So if Hosmer laps the group in arb eligibility or something, maybe the plan starts to come apart before they even start. You should ask him, either here at his next chat, on the podcast, or on our Sunday night radio show, where I'll be there to comment as well.
dtwhite (Toronto): With D'Arnaud's ascension this year, do you see him being a better player than Arencibia, and on what kind of timeline? How should the Jays manage these two assets?
Steven Goldman: My response here is similar to mine on Trumbo, which is that as long as we can't squeeze a .300 OBP out of the guy, he's more a problem than a solution. I look at Arencibia and see Miguel Olivo or Rod Barajas.
dianagramr (NYC): Favorite all-time cable drama? Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad, The Shield, Mad Men, other?
Steven Goldman: The Wire, just edging out Deadwood because the Wire got a full story in, whereas the latter was just sort of abandoned, with a third-season/series ending that was highly unsatisfactory. Have to admit I've never watched the Shield or Breaking Bad. Both are on the long-term list. I'm liking "The Hour" on the BBC just now.
Cult of Basebaal (Los Angeles Anaheim of Pasadena): I recognize that Proctor isn't likely to see meaningful innings, but the larger question is, "Why aren't those innings going to September call-ups that might actually be useful to the Yankees in 2012 and beyond?" Why not give Kontos or Wheelan or Betances a chance and a reward for their hard work in the minors this season? Why build a quality farm system if you're always going to choose other team's cast offs?
Steven Goldman: I just wrote that at the Pinstriped Bible today. I've been asking that question all year. It frustrates the heck out of me.
Chris (Windy City): Kevin's article simply addressed the notion that it would cost the Royals too much money..."Hosmer could impact the Royals’ financial flexibility down the road" and "one month of impatience cost the team millions of dollars three years later." Nothing to do with a "grand plan." Maybe I'll try to call in this week and put him on the spot.
Steven Goldman: That's the implication, though, I think, that the grand plan would be compromised by making Hosmer too expensive too fast. I think in the platonic-ideal world of prospect development, Kevin's rule about no timetable applies, but we do have to think about other things, alas.
Shaun P. (Medway, MA): Hi Steve, presuming that the Yanks could legally and non-nefariously control whether they win the East or the Wild Card, which team would be the better ALDS opponent for them, Detroit or Texas/LAA?
Or would having homefield advantage through the AL playoffs dictate winning the division, matchups be damned?
Steven Goldman: Yo, Shaun of Medway where an ex-girlfriend of mine just might live... Maybe she's your maid. I'm still skeptical the Angels will make it, but if they do, facing Weaver, Haren, and Santana in Games 1-3 of a postseason series would be pretty scary. The Tigers you get Verlander, Fister, and Scherzer, but you have to question which Fister and Scherzer would show up. I don't want to dismiss the Rangers too easily. Not sure how Ron Washington will organize his postseason rotation. A team that can put up three lefties in four games is darned interesting.
Steve N (Delaware): With Strasburg back and Zimmerman in the fold am I crazy for thinking that a good lefty bat would make the Nationals contenders next year?
Steven Goldman: How was the hurricane for you in Delaware? I hear a lot about SC, NY, NJ, VT, but not so much about Delaware... Does your lefty bat mean that Davey Johnson won't be leading off Ian Desmond and his .290 OBP? What's up with that? He used to be such a brilliant manager. Except for that whole letting Dwight Gooden pitch to Mike Scioscia in '88 thing...
Continuing a Theme (Memeville): You and Jason continue to do a great job with the Up & In podcast!
Steven Goldman: I don't, but they really do. I listen every week and these are guys that I get to talk with whenever I want. I think that's a testimony to how good they are, that you want to listen to them even though you get to spend time with them in other venues. As for things that I am involved with, I hope that Kevin, Mike Ferrin, and I are doing an equally good job.
Drew (Springfield): Is Montero an everyday player next year? If so, rough estimate numbers wise?
Steven Goldman: It depends if the NYYs are willing to just live with him at DH with occasional catching appearances. It will be interesting to see what kind of deal they work with Russell Martin after the season. If the Yankees feel its essential that Montero actually wear some kind of glove, well, they're NEVER going to use him regularly. As for next year's numbers, Montero is young enough that he could still evolve considerably, but I could image something like .275/.330/.450.
Steve N (Delaware): Irene gifted us with about 7 inches of rain. Verylittle wind. Sump pumps are good.
The best thing about the hurricane was that it stopped folks from talking about the earthquake.
Steven Goldman: Funny that you guys got off fairly cleanly and Vermont just got SMASHED.
R.A. Wagman (Section 203): Steven, why is geography such a tyrant that billions of revenue dollars can't seem to shake MLB away from?
To speak more plainly, many of today's down markets were once up markets (Florida/Tampa need not apply). Geographically based divisions have since consigned many to the trash compactors of history and new-found status as small markets. Maybe it's time to leave divisions behind? Or, at least geographically-based ones?
Steven Goldman: Because baseball is a conservative institution. Also, travel would be even more than a bitch than it is now if you didn't have intra-division games with teams that were relatively close to each other.
dianagramr (NYC): Also, travel would be even more than a bitch than it is now if you didn't have intra-division games with teams that were relatively close to each other.
The BCS has their fingers in their ears singing "la la la we can't hear you!"
Steven Goldman: What's a BCS?
ttt (Manhattan): According to Baseball-Reference, Posada was worth -1 WAR this year and Jesus Montero is worth 0.3 (SSS alert!). Is it really that hard to believe that Montero couldn't have put up 2 WAR this year? He may have even caught a game.
Steven Goldman: He's been really streaky and was a little hurt around the ASB, so hard to say.
Jumpf (Brooklyn): Who makes the playoffs first: Orioles or yet-to-be-announced-or-named expansion team sometime down the road?
Steven Goldman: Is the expansion team going to do better drafting position players?
Chris (Windy City): So I was right...Teams are smart if they have no timetable, but only if they can afford it. If people think they can't afford it, then they're dumb.
Steven Goldman: No, I think that's a pejorative way to put it. Like I said, I think Kevin's statement is accurate as a statement of general philosophy, but we also have to deal with the reality of these teams and their management. Whether the Royals can afford it or not is a different question, but can isn't the same as won't. But call Sunday! I'd love to get into this.
DetroitDale (Florida (eternal spring training)): The tigers have 20m coming off the books in magglio ordonez and carlos guillen, and a gaping hole at second. Am I crazy for thinking they should make a run at jose reyes? An infield of alex avila miguel cabrera, reyes, jhonny peralta and nick castellanos would be truly formidible. Jose's health is a concern but for that lineup isn't it worth rolling those dice?
Steven Goldman: Not a horrible idea, but I don't know if Reyes has his heart set on staying at SS, and he'll have suitors asking him to do just that.
Randy (Houston): Regarding DetroitDale's plan, I think works with leaving Reyes at SS. Peralta slides over to 3B (Castellanos in 2014, but not yet). And the Tigers can hand the 2B job to a useful in-house option in Scott Sizem....oh, crap.
Steven Goldman: Yup. A little more patience would have been warranted there, ay?
Steven Goldman: For the first time in the eight-year history of my chats here at BP, I have emptied the queue. As always, I thank you for spending part of your day with BP and myself. Please look for me here, at the Pinstriped Bible, and Sunday nights on MLB Network Radio. I'll be back soon. Until then, peace!